Brookings’ job mobility ​& smart growth toolkit

“I think there's a huge role for companies to take in developing skills and pathways for workers to move up. Really, they know the productive knowledge that workers need to earn decent wages. And so they have a responsibility to provide that training and knowledge.”
– Ian Seyal, Project Manager, Brookings Workforce of the Future Initiative.​


Through the Workforce of the Future Initiative, Brookings has developed a toolkit to help U.S. workers and organizations navigate career pathways. ​Their ‘Mobility Pathways’ tool aggregates data from hundreds of thousands of real job transitions, to show how workers can advance through labor markets. ​And their ‘Smart Growth’ tool offers insights on local industry and employment trends to help policymakers and companies chart paths toward resilient growth and higher-quality job creation.

Role in the future of work

By collecting, distilling and visualizing workforce and job transition data, Brookings’ tools can help workers navigate an increasingly complex labor market, businesses identify and recruit workers from various backgrounds for hard-to-fill jobs, and local policymakers decide on appropriate re-skilling efforts. ​

Growth to date

After publishing the Realism about reskilling report in December 2019, the COVID pandemic hit and the team at Brookings started exploring how the data they had collected could help people find reemployment, and companies rehire workers as quickly as possible, as the U.S. economy began to recover. The ‘Mobility Pathways’ tool launched in November 2020 and the ‘Smart growth strategies’ tool will also be launched shortly.

Barriers and challenges

The biggest challenge has been making the data and tools applicable to a wide variety of stakeholders (workers, businesses and policymakers). ​

Looking to the future

The team at Brookings is working on integrating their tools into a single, holistic, U.S.-focused economic and workforce development tool, while running projects with local organizations and policymakers in Texas and Colorado. However, their approach also translates into international contexts and there are plenty of expansion opportunities, especially for public-private partnerships.​

Click to Brookings initiative's website for more: